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Having trouble with new battery. 1994 Dakota

so my old battery in my '94 dakota would go dead just from being in the cold of winter. It worked fine in the warm months.

Today i got a new battery, put it in, hooked it up, turned the key, and it almost started. So i thought to myself “ok, this battery must have been on the shelf for a while” and i put my portable jumper to it and it started.

Then the problem began. I turned the truck off, then tried to start it again. The battery gauge in the car went from fine all the way down to nothing while cranking. Charged the battery thinking it was that, turned the key, and the same thing happened.

I need help!

Sounds like one of the connections to the battery or the starter has a bad connection, or possibly one of the cables are internally corroded.

Some quick checks with a voltmeter would narrow it down, but lacking that, take off each of the connections and check for corrosion. Don’t forget the ground connections, both for the battery and the starter.


How many amps was it pulling when you first connected the charger and how long did it take to fully top off the battery?

Remove and clean both ends of both cables and the metal they attach to.

While they are off bend the cables, If you hear or feel wires breaking inside, replace the cable.

That’s a common way folks discover their battery is no good. It fails in the summer, but it doesn’t show up until winter. Batteries are electro-chemistry machines and the rate of the chemical reactions and associated current production is much affected by the ambient temperature.

Start off by checking the ideas posted above, all good. Especially make sure the battery posts and connectors are clean and tight. If that doesn’t solve it, the jump start may have damaged either the battery or the alternator diodes (which can cause a drain on the battery in certain failure modes). Or the wiring harness could have been damaged by the jump start, esp the place where the neg post connects to the chassis ground. Makes sure you’ve got a good connection there. Sometimes jump starts can cause problems with fuses and fusible links too. Post back what you find. Best of luck.

In the end, you might find that the new battery has some bad cells or a bad connection between cells. If that is the case, it won’t pass any test. You may have to return it and get it replaced. Check cables for swelling, corrosion and cracked insulation.